'He is very beatable' – John Ryder confident over Canelo Alvarez showdown in May
John Ryder is confident his shot at super-middleweight glory against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is coming with talks firmly underway for a Cinco de Mayo showdown against the Mexican superstar.
The Londoner picked up the WBO interim title with victory over fellow Briton Zach Parker in November having secured a career-best win over Daniel Jacobs earlier in the year to position himself at the top of the pile at 168lbs.
Canelo, who cleaned out the division in 2021 to collect the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF titles, has no shortage of options and is also eager for a rematch with Dmitry Bivol, having been outclassed by the Russian up at light-heavyweight last year.
Talks for Ryder to step up and challenge the pound-for-pound great are underway however with Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn confirming last week they are attempting to agree a deal with Eddie Reynoso, Canelo’s trainer and manager.
Were Canelo to pursue a rematch against Bivol at 175lbs and vacate his super-middleweight titles, Ryder would likely be elevated to full WBO champion, enabling him to achieve a lifelong dream without having to lift a finger.
The 34-year-old has had to be patient in his climb to the top, bouncing back and rebuilding at various stages after defeats to Billy Joe Saunders, Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith. With a hugely lucrative fight against the man who is still the biggest draw in the game within his reach, sitting back and waiting to be handed a belt is not part of his plan.
‘I’m very hopeful it is going to be Canelo next,’ Ryder told Metro.co.uk. ‘I am in a very fortunate position that if he doesn’t fight me on 6 May, I will be upgraded to the full WBO champion.
‘I have been in this sport a long time and the dream has always been to become a world champion. But I don’t want to be made world champion by receiving a belt in the post, or being notified over Twitter or email. I would much rather fight the man of the moment. He has showed in the last 12 months he is very beatable. Maybe he is not the Canelo of old.
‘I’m not going to criticise anyone who has won the belt that way, a lot of people have got the belt that way and gone onto defend it successfully and make a real name for themselves. But personally, when you have the likes of Canelo holding the titles, you want to fight the best and that’s what I want to do.
‘I have been unlucky in this game sometimes but I feel now is my time and I want to show the world.’
Canelo has enjoyed some of his biggest nights in the sport on Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday and boxing’s most celebrated date on the calendar usually reserved for the biggest fights of the year.
Las Vegas or Texas have played host in the past with the expectation that should Ryder get his wish, he will travel out to the US for his opportunity.
The proud Arsenal fan has dreamed of bringing a world title fight to The Emirates Stadium – with the title-chasing Gunners currently scheduled to be out of down on that Cinco de Mayo weekend away to Newcastle United.
Hearn has also suggested a UK debut for the Mexican could be on the cards with the Matchroom chief hoping to deliver ‘something a little bit different for Saul’. But given the rich history around State-side fights on that famous boxing weekend, Ryder believes it makes sense to head across the Atlantic and into the lion’s den.
‘I’m in the dark a bit, I have heard they are potentially looking at sites where to hold it,’ he said. ‘But if it is Cinco de Mayo weekend then there is only one place to hold it and that’s in Vegas. I know they have also used Texas while they could even bring it to Mexico but I doubt they are going to bring it to London for that weekend.
‘I did get excited when I saw Arsenal are away that weekend,’ Ryder admitted. ‘It could be a real possibility. But the logistics of it and what Canelo brings to a Vegas fight, he brings a lot to that region especially on that holiday. Of course it would be amazing for the UK but when we are taking that weekend, it can only really be in the States.
‘I have always lived around the [Emirates] stadium, on match days I could hear goals going in. The Canelo fight there would be perfect but that particular date might not makes sense. But if get the chance to go out to the US and do a job on him, let’s bring it back there for the rematch.’
Ryder has no qualms in admitting he has been a Canelo ‘fanboy’ over the years, staying up until the early hours to watch him climb to the top.
But the vulnerability he showed against Bivol saw his aura of invisibility fade somewhat. And while the undisputed champion had no trouble dispatching Gennady Golovkin in September, the last 12 months have given people like Ryder plenty of reason to believe weaknesses are they to be exploited.
‘I have to make match that switch now,’ Ryder said. ‘Canelo had that great year when he became undisputed, but maybe he suffered a bit of burnout because of it. After what happened with Bivol, I think everyone expected him to blow Golovkin away but that was a bit lacklustre too, he won pretty handily but it was not what everyone was expecting.
‘So there are signs that his best days are behind him. He has put a bit of that down to injury but it is all to be seen now, whether he is on the slide or whether it was injury and burnout.
‘He turned pro at 15 and is 60-odd fights in. It’s a lot of fights, a lot of training camps, lots of hard miles on the clock.
‘But he has paid his dues to the sport, he has done things the hard way when he has been asked to and he has taken his losses and comeback stronger. We are not depending on him being the fallen man. I will always train for the best version of Canelo there can be.’
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